Ambulances – Switch Satnav OFF!

31 03 2018

A strange thing happened the other night at my house… I came downstairs in the dark and went into the kitchen where there is a view of the woods… there was a blue light flashing away in there. What on earth was going on?

I went outside the back door and could hear voices galore in the woods. Had someone fallen? were they chasing a burglar? didn’t know but the light wasn’t moving…

I decided to investigate and put on boots and coat and set off up the road. I was met by loads of men with headtorches coming down the road – very weird in such a quiet, rural area. One of them said “Hello Carol” – I peered behind the light and saw one of my neighbours.

What on earth was happening? I asked. He said an ambulance had had to be called for the 90 year old lady next door to him as she’d been taken ill. But what were the blue lights in the wood I enquired?

He then informed me that, hilariously (although perhaps no so for the waiting and ill lady), a full-sized ambulance had followed their satnav and it had apparently directed them up the wrong road and then through the local wood.

Our local wood has a very muddy tractor track through it, complete with huge boulders and gullies on the steep hilly sections where water erosion had taken the mud away. It’s quite a difficult walk for me with my bad leg and I have to go carefully. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get through it very easily on my trail motorbike (but I’m not a great off-road rider).

Now, the reason I think this had happened in the first place is that, instead of following the diversion signs around the closed off section of road coming into one side of our village, they decided to take another route round. This would have meant them going up the lane they took and turning right at a crossroads – a map would have made it obvious it should be a crossroads where they turned. Where they ended up turning wasn’t a crossroads and had no sign on it – the crossroads are signposted to our village.

They were initially faced with this private lane to a couple of houses – the grass in the middle gives you a clue it isn’t an actual road…

As the road starts to descend steeply, the tarmac turns off to the final house. On the right-hand fork, the tarmac ends suddenly, within a few feet, with a bang as you fall off it onto the leafy and muddy track. This photo shows the junction – I’m not sure I’d pick the right-hand option with a large van here!

Admittedly, though, it would probably be quite hard to reverse back up onto the tarmac by now. So, they slithered steeply down here…


Oo-err… this is a scary road!

Looking back up…

They then ventured over the pretty but dilapidated bridge over the beck…

and then proceeded to climb the much steeper, muddier, rougher track up the other side of the gill..

Looking back down to the bridge…

Somehow, the driver clawed, bounced and slithered his way to the very top of the hill… where it gets really soft and muddy… and where he stuck fast!

Perhaps if he’d started this end, he might not have tried the track!

Of course, the upshot of all this was that we had to get the poor farmer and his tractor out to drag the ambulance to the road. It was after 2100 and in the middle of lambing time so he’d be up at 0300. Luckily, although his wife was in bed already, he wasn’t and he turned out with good grace. He even congratulated the driver on how well he’d done to get that far! While I was amazed he had, I’m not sure I’d have congratulated him – more like called him an idiot.

For those, like me, who are worried about the elderly lady, I’m not sure how she is and am trying to find out whether she’s okay. Haven’t seen her since though – I’m hoping she comes back home soon.


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25 responses

2 04 2018
tessapark1969

Not good – I hope she is ok. I don’t like using satnav precisely because I worry about going the wrong way down this sort of ‘road’ – and my mini would definitely not cope!

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3 04 2018
mountaincoward

I think Satnavs are best for city centres and built-up areas – they’re not much good rurally. Perhaps if they had a clean-up of their database and removed everything except A & B roads it might help

Liked by 1 person

2 04 2018
underswansea

Looks pretty soft and slickerey, as we like to say. I hope the elderly lady is ok.

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3 04 2018
mountaincoward

I’m going to have to call at my other neighbour and try and find out as I’d love to know if she’s okay.

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9 04 2018
mountaincoward

Just found out today that the elderly lady was in hospital for a week but is now back home and well again 🙂

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10 04 2018
underswansea

That’s good to hear. PS don’t slip walking on that springtime mud.

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10 04 2018
mountaincoward

I’m very slow, rickety and careful nowadays. Still, the surgeon says he can change my hip for a new one in about 2 months!

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11 04 2018
underswansea

I know several people who have had hip replacements and they have been very happy with the results.

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12 04 2018
mountaincoward

But only 6 weeks later when the pain dies down eh? 😉

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2 04 2018
George

You can get all the routes you might need from your SatNav as printed pages, nicely bound into a book. It’s called a satless 🙂

Liked by 1 person

2 04 2018
mountaincoward

Brilliant! I’ve always used those. My Mum had one of those extra huge ones and it came in really useful once when her Renault overheated – we opened the bonnet and stood wafting the engine to cool it – we were soon back on our way!

I also use the route planner maps – pretty much all of Scotland on one side and England on the other – they’re great.

Liked by 1 person

1 04 2018
Blue Sky Scotland

I still always use an OS map and compass to get around. Sat Nav’s can be handy but I’m still convinced I was knocked down a few years ago by a driver in a van looking at his Sat Nav instructions for a complicated junction instead of watching the roads- and missing the red stop light. Sat Nav screen was easily a foot across, like a small TV, so how that is not a distraction while negotiating multiple lanes in busy rush hour traffic is a mystery.

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1 04 2018
mountaincoward

I remember you said you’d been knocked down by a van – laid you up for quite a while I remember? Awful! I thought you listened to Satnavs anyway rather than looked at them? I thought that was the idea. I’d only ever consider one if I had to drive through large towns and cities.

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1 04 2018
John Bainbridge

I’ve heard horror tales of ambulance controllers asking hillwalkers in distress for a postcode and refusing to accept a map reference.

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1 04 2018
mountaincoward

I’ve had that with a broken windscreen a couple of times in the middle of nowhere – once in the Highlands!

Liked by 1 person

2 04 2018
John Bainbridge

They used to teach you how to take a map ref when I was at school. Wonder what went wrong?

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2 04 2018
mountaincoward

yes we learnt that at Primary School too

Liked by 1 person

31 03 2018
Jim R

Quoting a phrase I’ve heard : when you come to the fork in the road, take it.

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1 04 2018
mountaincoward

Well If they’d taken the left hand fork to that house, at least they should have been able to turn around. Probably have given the folk in the house a fright though!

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31 03 2018
opoppa

We have a similar problem. Although 200 yards up a private track, we are the centre of the postcode. Drivers pay no attention to signs. One huge vehicle towing a caravan came into our yard. “You have followed your satnav haven’t you” I said. He replied “Yes and they told me not to!!” I laughed when he scraped his caravan on our gate post when trying to get out.

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1 04 2018
mountaincoward

I can imagine that – how awful to have that turn up in your yard! I’d have laughed too. Wonder why they follow Satnavs when they’re specifically advised not to – we have a few narrow lanes with signs on saying “don’t trust Satnav”

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31 03 2018
Simon Howlett

What an adventure they had. The driver should consider taking up rally driving.

I do hope the elderly lady returns home soon.

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1 04 2018
mountaincoward

I was wondering whether he maybe was a rally driver in his spare time?!

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9 04 2018
mountaincoward

Just found out today that the elderly lady was in hospital for a week but is now back home and well again 🙂

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10 04 2018
Simon Howlett

That’s great news Carol 🙂

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